6 May 2018
Strength through Christ
Lord God, our refuge and strength, when the restless powers of this world and the waters of hell rise up against Your holy city, watch over it and keep it safe. By the river that flows from the throne of the Lamb. Purify this New Jerusalem as Your chosen dwelling, for You are with us, our stronghold now and forever.1
Growth…and maturity…are a common theme throughout the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, we are reminded concerning Samuel, “Now Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man.”2 Luke would remind us, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”3
Likewise, King Solomon gives the same advice, “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding.”4
You have studied Scripture. To which, Jesus reminds us, “You search the Scriptures for in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”5
This road you have taken. It does not end today. Far from it. It is a life long journey. Which leads to eternal life. Today we pause. To thank Jesus for where He has taken you. And to be reminded that as this processes continues. He walks with you – every step of the way.
The passage of Scripture you have chosen for this day is from Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“God Is Our Refuge and Strength, a Very … Present Help … In Trouble.”
Now, what do we do, when trouble comes? Three things are outlined for us in this Psalms 46.
First, realize when trouble comes that God is a Refuge for His people. Secondly, realize, (according to verse five,) that God is a Resident among His people. He is present. He remains with you. Thirdly, realize that, (according to verse four,) God sends a River of blessing to His people.
It is the understanding of these three things that equip people to cope with the trouble that either will come, or has come, or is still here.
We can experience a deep security in the words of Psalm 46. That however much the earth shakes, a more powerful God is with us. And for us. Wherever we find ourselves. We rest in this knowledge. Not that the darkness will always turn to dawn—but in the confidence that God in Christ says to us, “I am with you always.”6
God is our refuge and strength. Always ready to help. In times of trouble. So we will not fear.
The first two words in this Psalm again bring so much confidence. GOD IS...
1. God is your refuge. - Refuge – protection, a place of shelter and safety.
God is for us as a place to which we may flee for safety. A source of strength to us in danger. The word, “refuge,” means to “flee,” and then “to flee to” - or to “take shelter in” - a place, to which one would flee in time of danger - as a lofty wall; a high tower; a fort; a fortress. See Psalm 18:2, Proverbs 18:10
The idea here is, that the people of God, in time of danger, may find Him to be what such a place of refuge would be.
2. God is your strength. - Strength – power, an avenue of might and means.
God is the source of strength. Especially to those who are weak and defenseless. That we may rely on his strength, “as if” it were your own. Or, that you may feel as safe in His strength as though we had that strength ourselves. You may make it the basis of your confidence as really as though the strength resided in our own arm.
3. God is your VERY present help. - A very present help -an abundantly available help – a constant companion and comforter, “very much” when you need Him.
A very present help - The word “help” here means “aid,” or “assistance.” The word “trouble” would cover all that can come upon us which would give us anxiety or sorrow.
The word “present” - means “is found,” or “has been found;” that is, He has “proved” Himself to be a help in trouble.
The word “present,” means He is near to you. Or, close by you. “He has been found” to be, He has always “proved” Himself to be such a help, and that, therefore, we may now confide in him.
The word “very,” is added, to remind us, that this is “most certainly true.” It is true. God had always been found to be such a helper, and, “therefore,” there is nothing to fear.
God is with us – this is the refrain throughout the psalm – God is available to you. God is accessible. At just the right time. When you need Him the most. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:16
The God in whom we trust. Despite natural disasters. And historical threats. The God who will finally bring an end to wars (Ps 46:9). The God who’s “with us.” Takes its ultimate expression in the sending of the one named Immanuel— Jesus –God with us.
Remember, God is your refuge. He is your strength. So we should not fear – No matter what happens. God is reminding us. To be still. And know He is God. He is in control. He will provide. And He will make a way.
It’s in God that we can find our true security. No matter what happens. Be it in our personal finances, our family, our friendships, or any other aspect of our life.
Finally, let’s also be reminded of what the Psalmist writes in verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God!”
Psalm 46 reminds us that we are in both the desert and in the Promised Land. In short, this Psalm is a strong affirmation of trusting God in the most troublesome situations. The opening statement, God is our refuge and strength (verse 1) as well as the recurring refrain, The Lord of hosts is with us; “the God of Jacob is our fortress (verses 7 and 11) each serves as reinforcements to God’s presence and God’s protection.
God is with us. Even when the world around us might seem to be falling apart. In the midst of unpredictable natural disasters that threaten to change and destroy the earth, God’s people are not to fear, Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling (verses 2-3). In the midst of political calamity, the voice of God can be heard, “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts(verse 6). In the midst of pain or strife. God will bring peace.“Be still, and know that I am God.” (verse 9).
These words are clear: “A mighty fortress...is our God.” Fare thee well. Child of God. God is with you. Throughout your journey of faith.
1 Collect for Psalm 46 - For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and By the Church © 1995 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
2. 1 Samuel 2:26
3. Luke 2:52
4. Proverbs 3:4-5
5. John 5:39\
6. Matthew 28:20
That refrain is central to the psalm, and central to the refrain is “with us,” in Hebrew. The preposition translated “with” is an important one throughout the Bible. It may link the individual to God (Judges 6:16; Ps 23:4; Jeremiah 2:8; Acts 18:10) or it may speak of the Lord and the community (Ps 46:7, 11).
Words –1,325Passive Sentences –84.7%
Readability – 3%
Reading Level – 3.9